It is no secret that service members put a lot on hold to ensure their duty is fulfilled. Oftentimes this means putting personal needs aside to ensure the job is done. Service members in a particular way are no stranger to the sacrifices that come with daily life - and need support beyond their time in active duty. For civilians, a question is always ‘what can I do that can positively impact the lives of service members?’ Many loved ones may be overseas for a period of time, or balancing many roles to ensure the safety of their country. While not every person may be called to this line of duty, all civilians can make an impact in supporting the lives of service members, both active and retired. Here we walk through a few ways civilians can contribute to this goal, and how civilian support builds stronger and more effective communities.
6 Ways Civilians Can Support Active Duty Military Members
Psychologically speaking, humans are positively impacted when they are recognized. While not all service members want or need recognition for their specific role in the military, acknowledging their presence and thanking them for putting their needs after others in their community is a helpful way to encourage active duty or veteran members. Acknowledging that what they did positively impacted the community is a great way to help military members.
Another way to support active duty military members is through care packages. If you know someone in the military, this can be a great way to stay connected and supportive in a challenging time. Care packages can range from necessities such as sunscreen, to homemade foods, to cards and photos that remind them of home. If you do not personally know a military member, you can also donate to the many organizations that put together care packages and send them to members. Certain organizations will even have pre-made packages that your donations can send to members overseas.
One of the most hands-on helpful things you can do for deployed military members is make sure their spouses or family members are taken care of in their absence. Acknowledging that spouses run operations at home while those deployed are running them overseas can help provide support where needed most. Stopping by, offering to watch the kids, or bring meals are all ways to show on the ground support to your local community.
Speaking of community, there are tons of organizations and local, grassroots operations to help support military members and their families. These organizations need help and hands to keep their operations which serve a critical need up and running. Reaching out to your local adaptive athletes organization, or bringing food to local events can be ways to be involved at the local level. Because we all know - a little act can have an enormous magnitude.
Another way to help military members, both active duty and veterans, is to put funds into organizations that matter. Here at VRB labs, we are proud that 10% of each profit goes to organizations such as Adaptive Training Academy or Operation Rebound, which specifically help adapt sports to serve those who have given their all. These organizations are two examples of incredible foundations aimed at a critical need in the community. Look for local organizations such as these to see your dollars at work.
A final way to help military members and their families is to offer help. Then show up. Leaving open ended offers, while coming from a good place, does not do the work that needs to make sure military members are cared for at the local level. Whether it's carpooling the kids to school, dropping off a meal, checking in on family members during deployment, or donating to a cause, offering and follow through are the most important parts of supporting active duty military members. A small offer stretches a long way, and ensures no one is alone during a challenging time.
As always, it is important to respect the needs of military members. Help should be aimed at supporting and affirming some of our toughest neighbors that they are not alone. As local communities provide support, know that we at VRB labs have your back in the journey to supporting and honoring our military members.